The Key to Using Keywords | Bruce Turkel

I write this blog for three reasons:

  1. To create and maintain relationships with you and everyone who reads what I write,
  2. To stay top-of-mind and create opportunities, and
  3. To paraphrase John Lee Hooker’s Boogie Chillen’: “I gotta let that boy boogie-woogie,
    It’s in him, and it got to come out.”

Why Write a Blog About Keynote Speakers in the First Place?

Like anyone who first starts writing a blog, I wondered what I was going to write about. The thought of having to come up with something interesting to say week after week and month after month was certainly intimidating. But with the hindsight that comes with having never missed a weekly deadline after more than 12 years of producing this blog, I no longer worry about what I’m going to say. I have found the biggest benefit of such a repetitive activity is that just like my daily runs or regular rehearsals with guitars and harmonicas, my thinking and writing muscles also get stronger the more I use them. When it’s time to write, I simply sit down and write. When my fingers dance across the keyboard, the words just come.

Instead, what I find most arduous is keeping up with the technology required to make my blog both competitive and successful. Knowing how to upload and post my essays is easy; understanding how to attract and generate the highest readership, less so. Just like the person who yodels into a chasm and waits for a response, it can be very lonely to send out a message and wonder if anyone is actually on the receiving end. After all, what’s the point of making noise if no one actually hears it? More poignantly, similar to the metaphorical tree falling in the empty forest, if there’s no one to hear the sounds you make, did you actually make any in the first place?

From what I’ve learned so far, the key to having people find these posts is the strategic use of the right keywords. That’s because keywords are what put the blog in front of people’s eyes in the first place. Because of this, it becomes critically important to find out which are the appropriate keywords to attract the right eyeballs and generate the most opportunities.

After considerable research and trial and error, I’ve determined that the keywords I want to use to attract the people I want to attract in order to generate the interest I need to initiate speaking engagements include: 

  1. keynote speaker
  2. famous motivational speakers
  3. conference speaker
  4. event speakers
  5. business motivational speakers
  6. famous inspirational speakers
  7. business speakers
  8. motivational keynote speaker
  9. business keynote speakers
  10. marketing keynote speakers
  11. hire a motivational speaker
  12. conference keynote speaker
  13. corporate speakers
  14. corporate motivational speakers
  15. core values in the workplace
  16. innovation consulting

Of course, knowing which words to use is not quite enough. It’s also important to know which words generate the most searches and which can attract the most viewers. For that reason, it’s important to research the metrics behind the words.

In that case, the list looks like this:

  1. keynote speaker 9,900
  2. famous motivational speakers 1,600
  3. conference speaker 720
  4. event speakers 1,300
  5. business motivational speakers 170
  6. famous inspirational speakers 170
  7. business speakers 720
  8. motivational keynote speaker 90
  9. business keynote speakers 170
  10. marketing keynote speakers 110
  11. hire a motivational speaker 170
  12. conference keynote speaker 70
  13. corporate speakers 210
  14. corporate motivational speakers 90
  15. core values in the workplace 50
  16. innovation consulting 1900

Quite simply, this list tells you that people have searched “keynote speaker” 9,900 times last month and “famous motivational speakers” 1,600 times, “conference speaker” 720 times, and so on.

Of course, there’s no promise that using any of these words will attract the proper viewers, nor that finding the right viewers will result in them clicking to my speaking videos nor considering me for a potential gig they might have. Or, as John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

If it was That Easy, Everyone Would do it.

What’s more, I’m not the only one trying to achieve dominance in these words. So, while I’m doing my best to rank in various keyword searches and show up in front of more and more eyeballs, other people are too. That competition means that even though I might properly pack my posts with keywords such as “innovation consulting” and “corporate speakers,” plenty of bloggers are packing their posts too. And while I don’t know specifically how Google will rank my use of keywords over others, I do know that it’s not as easy as simply using those words. 

There’s one more thing. Lots of copywriters are busy trying to stuff their desired keywords into their text. The problem is you know it. The minute you read copy specifically written to promote words like “event speakers” and “business speakers,” you can feel that you’re being used. Today’s consumers (that’s you, btw) have seen so much contrived copy that their BS detectors are highly developed and highly tuned. And so, while artful copywriting is supposed to create the feeling that the words you are reading were written just for you, the constant repeating of keywords (keynote speaker, famous motivational speakers, business speaker, etc.) instantly alerts you to the fact that you’re being sold to. And nothing turns off readers faster than that.

Truth is, I’m surprised you’ve even hung in this long.

What have my results been so far? I rank first in searches for “Bruce Turkel” (believe it or not, many people do not rank first in their own names – in fact I only rank 33rd for “Turkel” when I remove “Bruce” from the search). I rank second for “innovation keynote speaker,” and 23rd for “best leadership speakers.” For the rest of the words, from “keynote speaker” and “famous motivational speakers” to “innovation consulting” I’m comfortably ranked in the top 100, but nowhere near the top. And this is after years and years of regular posts.

One of the reasons I don’t rank as high in words such as “keynote speaker” or “famous motivational speakers” as I’d like is that I don’t exclusively write about those specific subjects. In the last few weeks alone, I’ve written about the branding lessons from the Madruga Bakery,  Things I Don’t Like, and How to Build Brand Value. Not one of those posts was about being a keynote speaker.

Focus. Focus. Focus.

My lack of single-mindedness is a two-headed beast. Firstly, I want to always make sure my posts are interesting and relevant to you. If I only wrote about wanting to be a keynote speaker or a leadership speaker, you would quickly lose interest. And secondly, I have the attention span of a gnat. There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that I could’ve spent the last 12 years writing more than 600 posts about the same subject. Not that I don’t envy people who have that concentrated focus, mind you, it’s just that I’d rather undergo a pre-civil war root canal than have to write about keynote speakers and leadership speakers week after week after week.

I love being a keynote speaker. I don’t love writing about being a keynote speaker. More importantly, I can’t imagine that you want to hear about how much I love being a keynote speaker. Especially not over and over again, regardless of how clever I am about approaching the same subject with a different direction or viewpoint. Instead, I want to write about the things I see that will be both interesting and beneficial to you, your business, and your brand. Sometimes that something is about being a keynote speaker. Most of the time it’s not.

How will this noble experiment in keywords wind up? Your guess is as good as mine. I’ve got great people working on my search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine management (SEM) and I’m as disciplined as can be about getting my message and my keywords out there (keynote speakers, corporate speakers, event speakers, etc. – remember?). We have the proper analytic tools to both monitor our advances and know when we need to make changes to our strategy and we’re quick to zig and zag appropriately. 

Keywords are Only the Beginning.

But most importantly, I’ve got a robust CRM system and great sales team set up to take advantage of every opportunity that shows itself. Because while it’s great to get the word out and generate interest, if I don’t ultimately score the gigs, get paid for getting up on stage, and actually help people improve their brands, their businesses, and their lives, what’s the point of this entire enterprise anyway? I don’t want to be a keynote speaker just for the pleasure of being a keynote speaker. Heck, I could generate enough keynote speaker opportunities through local charities, not-for-profit events, and colleges and universities to keep me busy most days. Instead, living my dream of being a keynote speaker means sharing what I’ve learned to help others live their dreams.


  1. September 22, 2019


  2. David J. Hawes, MAS+
    September 15, 2019


    The system you described to get gigs seems self-defeating. It reminds me of the stockyaards in Chicago. Repitive use of the ordained keywords allows you to gain access to the holding pen. You are obviously an excellent speaker. Based on my experience with you I am conveinced that you have a sincere desire to help people improve their lives.

    I suggest you separate yourself from the herd so your valuable message can be… heard.


  3. September 15, 2019

    Bruce – Great insight into the creative struggle of being authentic while feeding the dreaded search algorithm with sufficient keywords to be noticed. I love the way you managed to get your entire list of speaker related keywords into this post TWICE by presenting them with and without their associated metrics! The blog in itself is something of masterclass in keyword inclusion masquerading as a refusal to compromise creativity through using them in the first place.

  4. Richard Stollenwerck
    September 14, 2019

    I suspect you are going to get a ton of “hits” from this blog since you have mentioned “keynote speaker” or iterations thereof multiple times. Search engine optimization is one way to get business. Another way is to have a kick-ass speaker booking agent working for you. A friend of mine who lives down the street from me doesn’t write blogs and has no search engine consultants working for him. But he does have a kick-ass agent. This year he will speak at over 150 paying events at around $30 K a pop.

  5. September 13, 2019

    Bruce, I totally get it because I too live in the world of online searches. One thing I’ve noted, and a suggestion for you to include for your readers who write online articles, is to include use of MOZ Pro to evaluate your blogs after you post them. In this instance, I fear you will get some negative points for stuffing those keywords into this post, and keyword stuffing is a no no, as you noted.

    I love that you write about a wide variety of topics, which are always relevant to anyone in business. (And I do hope one day you rank #1 for “Famous Keynote Speaker.”)
    Always your fan

  6. JoAnna Brandi
    September 13, 2019

    All I can say is “I understand” and I agree with Dave, keep it all about them and let your ace team keep up with the opportunities. You can always drop a few, “as a keynote speaker…” lines in there. Your readers love your content and THAT helps keep you top of mind.

  7. September 12, 2019

    You see what a great writer you are—I never realized you were writing to speakers. I always felt you were talking about life events, trends and general happenings. You are indeed a talented man!

    • Bruce Turkel
      September 12, 2019

      Thank you Gayle. I’m not writing to speakers. I’m just trying to use the proper keywords in my posts to attract people looking for speakers. That way, I can share what I care about and generate business opportunities at the same time.

  8. September 12, 2019

    Technology asks us to focus on the words; serving the audience demands we focus on the message. Sacrifices made with respect to the effectiveness of our Googlebait demonstrate – often imperceptibly – a commitment to make it “all about them.” As they say, “You’re either talkin’ about it or you’re doin’ it.” Thanks for another insightful post, Bruce.


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